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DNB in Pediatrics: Breaking the bubble of insecurity

By Dr.Ajay Agade

About Dr.Ajay Agade : Pediatric Critical care Fellow currently pursuing FNB in Pediatric  Critical Care with academic focus. Strong supporter of FOAM (free online access medicine), its role in cutting down knowledge gap and founder of 

Hi all and to begin with it’s a great pleasure to write a guest post for Dr. Jateen and, I have no financial disclosures to make before I proceed. So we are going to burst few myths regarding choosing DNB in pediatrics as a  branch, what precautions needed while choosing your institute and a little bit about my discovery in a world of DNB in pediatrics. 

Myth No. 1: The first and biggest myth-Results    

The results are poor, yes they are. But then why they  are? Let’s find out. Let’s talk first about practicals. One of the reason we often discuss is the exams are conducted in a different institutes so the factor of favoring candidates in gone. Trust me even if the MD exams are conducted in same fashion, the result will be equivalent. Most of us blame the examiners for the results, but it’s almost opposite. Most of them are top intellects in the field and we are lucky that we are been tested, filtered and perfected by such people. (In fact they respect DNB’s and want to pass us) Instead of blame game, let’s ask ourselves how much practical preparations we do during our training? Mostly theory is all that we read. We don’t present much of cases and do practical oriented stuff and all that culminates into the result. So keep practicing case presentations every now and then

Let’s talk about theory. Questions are sometimes really out of world but again the same thing, we have much higher opportunity of learning things in details as against superficial reading. Nobody can practice well without a sound theoretical background. Difficult exam question makes us read a lot of theory which gives us a better understanding for practicing on all grounds of pediatrics as well as preparation for entrance of higher studies after DNB. The biggest problem in theory exam is the lack of systematic-ness and practice of writing answers. Because of this we mismanage time and loose marks. Keeping on writing longer, for a question known in detail, decreases your time and thinking for remaining difficult questions. So limiting your temptation is the key as all questions should be answered adequately. Cleanliness is very important in answer sheet. Now your handwriting may be “not so good” but u can still make the paper look tidy. If an examiner has to strain on the answer sheet, he will never focus on the quality of answer, you may have written. So take care of that too. Write precisely; don’t jump around here and there. There is no relationship between length of answer and marks, if at all there is any; it may be inverse only. We never write, or write less during PG (I don’t think MD,s do so) but we need to do so for better result. Writing practice gives us a good habit to write in exams in lesser time, more systematically plus writing is twice a reading. So keep writing everyday without fail.

Myth No 2:  The fight of MD vs DNB, who will win?

Let those who are fighting, keep fighting and discussing. Be a better pediatrician for society. Pediatricians are supposed to be more caring, precise than any other branch in medical science. Keep it up and prove yourself. After all the better degree is being a good pediatrician.  Prove yourself in academics, research activities, show your intellect in interviews for jobs and I don’t find any difficulty in getting jobs anywhere. May be in beginning somebody might give you a down feeling, but next seven days or so, show them how superior you are in terms of your knowledge in pediatrics and they will be your fan. And lastly you always have a legal support for any issues. So put a full stop to this discussion inside your brain and focus.

Myth No 3: Quality of DNB teaching.

It’s very variable from institute to institute but then it’s applicable for even the MD education. Let’s see this way, there are good MD and DNB institutions and there are worst MD and DNB institution. There are many Medical colleges whose pediatrics department running with one teacher or so, (I know one) are poorly equipped, grossly lacking in investigational services and labs, way behind the world in concepts and therefore the training can be inferior in constantly advancing world of pediatrics (same is applicable for DNB institutes also !). Many MD’s go and learn in corporate hospitals after their training. So variability in training is a problem in our country but one shouldn’t forget that it is applicable for both the systems of training. Let’s see another angle. Many DNB institutes have state of art infrastructure and have best teachers and clinicians in India (those who choose bigger and corporate hospitals to work rather than in medical college), and the training therefore can actually be superior to a teaching medical college. In fact DNB in institutes like top institutes should be preferred than MD in not so good medical colleges by choice. So these comparisons are not valid at all and therefore stop worrying and start studying

Choosing an institute for your DNB pediatrics training.

Choosing wisely is very important cause that’s going to make lot of changes in you as a doctor, a pediatrician and a practitioner. All those bad and good qualities are essentially inherited to you; from your parent institute (may be not all but lot of them). So the first thing is reputation. Now that’s a big issue. Many institutes may have a very good reputation, but when you enter in, it’s totally different. So you may choose a very reputed institute and then find no academics, only money oriented goals, no support system. This may be true for corporate hospitals, (but It’s not all or none law!) So don’t just go behind names. Trust me there are many small ones who respect you as a PG and teach you well. Try to choose ones with other DNB specialties also, first and above all: it makes you feel like a PG, second: many issues can be sorted out together, during exams the whole batch feels like exam going so it positively alters your behavior during exams. Lastly you never feel all alone and lost. Many loose the enthusiasm they started with, during three years. They lose the whole purpose, by being all alone, so avoid it. Look for bigger cities (Not a very strong recommendation. Don’t forget good institutes in smaller cities) so that you get aware of academic activities and CMEs from time to time. Lastly choose those who actually respect their PGs and support them. I have seen many who literally harass and exploit their PG’s. Now all this stuff takes lot and lots of inquiry. But it’s worth doing it, take it as a major milestone in your life, as it is going to make a lot of difference in your medical career.

My journey in pediatrics and discovery of  “”

My Journey of DNB in Pediatrics started with lot of insecurity; in fact situation and frustration were far worse. I started because of attraction (to begin with, now I love pediatrics) for this branch. I feel very happy that the picture has changed and is changing persistently in last four-five years. I am happy and very lucky that I am a DNB in Pediatrics without which I could have never learned hard work, systematic-ness, need of continuous updating myself, need to learn about advance care than just sticking to age old concepts and need of higher education for perfection. All thanks to DNB for choosing me.

When I started with my post-graduation it was an all alone journey, all what I was learning and “not” learning was kept limited to me. was started with the idea of forming a community of PG’s to get wiser and stronger together and to form our own Indian club of pediatric post graduates. It’s for all likeminded PG’s in pediatrics with no prefixes and dedicated to provide “Free Online Access Medicine,” anywhere and everywhere. The “authors” are all members and visitors like you who want to share with others. The site features Power points, Notes, Theory question answer, OSCE, Thesis work, Practical and theory hints and so many other things all written and shared by Pediatric residents all over country. I invite you all to use, share and contribute to our content to help yourself and others, learn pediatrics.

Here is a link to

All the best and happy studying!


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